Living the RV lifestyle opens up doors for many exciting opportunities, but also raises lots of questions. Will I miss family and friends? How do I get mail? What about visits to the doctor, dentist, and medications? How do you find a loyal mechanic?
There is not just one straight forward answer to all these questions. As RVers, we all find our way on what works the best for us. One thing that has answered a lot of our questions is having a “home base” campground in our hometown of Cookeville, Tennessee. Having a home base location as an RVer has been very beneficial to us, but does have it’s pros and cons.
One thing is certain in the RV lifestyle. Maintenance and projects are not something you will escape on the road. Just like living in a sticks and bricks home, having a house on wheels has it upkeep in different ways. Having a home base location is the perfect place to perform these activities if you can help it.
Yes problems happen while on the road, but some projects can wait until our next home base visit. This makes things so much easier, because we have local handymen, mechanics, or just an extra set of hands when needed. This allows us to hire people we know and trust and this is a huge piece of mind while performing these tasks.
Family is a huge part of our lives. Not just our little family we established, but our extended family as well. Both our families live in the same area in Tennessee, which is really nice when you are choosing a home base. One of the reasons we travel back to our hometown so frequently is because we love visiting with family and friends.
We don’t want our RV lifestyle experience to be isolated from the ones we love the most. We enjoy meeting new people on the road, but not being around family years at a time is not a situation that will work for our family.
Some of you may have family throughout the country and this lifestyle will let you see family more often. For us, because they are mostly in in the same area, traveling back to spend time on these relationships has been an important part of our travel journey.
Our daughter Hensley gets to spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends which is very important to all of us. I can enjoy sitting on the porch drinking coffee with my mom and grandma while we laugh and catch up on life. We can attend birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, time with friends, all the things we may miss while traveling.
One of our favorite parts of a home base is the familiarity of it. While traveling, you are always figuring out directions, where to shop, where to eat, and everything is new. Having a home base is a great break and allows us time to “recharge”. It has really helped break up that sense of newness with comfort.
Being in a familiar place is comfortable and allows us to have a schedule or a routine, which is something I personally do miss at times while traveling. Some people love routine and others hate the monotony. I have found that for me having this mix of constant adventure and familiarity has been a great blend.
Home Church Family
Making the decision to travel was a leap of faith, but we felt like it was the right decision for our family. We love our home Church and not being able to attending there on a regular basis was a tough decision to make.
Although we do miss it while traveling, we have enjoyed visiting new churches on the road. It is a great way to grow and meet new people. Coming back to a home base has allowed us to remain involved and connected. It is always nice coming “home” to our church family for a bit.
More affordable Lodging
Being at our home base is very affordable. We live in an economical area in Tennessee and we are able to stay at a monthly rate, which is a cheaper way of lodging. We also don’t spend as much seeing the sights in the area as we would while in other parts of the country.
One of our favorite advantages of being around family is DATE NIGHTS! Being on the road has pretty much eliminated going out for a night on the town as a couple. There are babysitting services, but we are not sure if that is a route we are comfortable with at this time. Letting our daughter spend time with family is always a peace of mind she is in good hands and I don’t feel guilty, because this is quality family time for her.
The biggest downside of a home base is the obvious one….driving! Having a home base you travel back to often means you are doing a lot of driving. We had a family wedding this summer and made the drive from Utah to our home base in Tennessee to attend the wedding. Our next adventure was set for Montana, which would have been a half day drive. Tennessee was quite a bit more of a drive (about 3 days for us). Driving long distances is not what you call fun, especially with a toddler, but you adapt the more you travel. Traveling has became a part of us and we have adapted to long rides. The drive time and diesel is worth our home base visit.
Not in a New Place to Explore
If you are living the traveling lifestyle, then traveling is in your blood. Staying parked in your home base can cause the travel bug to hit hard. We have found a month is a good amount of time for us to recharge. After a month we start to get the itch again. When we come back during the holiday months we are usually parked two months for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Come January we are squealing tires to get back on the road.
Life Get’s Hectic
If you choose to do a home base to batch everything together, be prepared because life can get hectic. When we travel back to our home base we lump together doctor appointments, dentist visits, visiting family, friends, projects, and not to mention the shifts I pick up at the hospital. Needless to say it gets CRAZY! We cram a lot together that needs maintenance including the van, RV, relationships, and our bodies. It is a very productive and yet busy stop for us.
So there you have our pros and cons list of having a home base while living the travel lifestyle. If you’re not sure whether or not you want a home base, don’t let that stop you from hitting the road. Over time, you’ll figure out what combo feels right for you.
Our journey has taken planning, sacrifice, faith, but in the end we wanted no regrets. No looking back and wondering, “What if” we had followed our dream. We are making our dreams a reality. Having a home base has been a great addition to our journey on the road.